The Emancipation of Mimi, Mariah Carey
There is one simple (yet foolish) reason why I was interested in reviewing Mariah Carey's new CD. No, it's not that she came out with a hot lead single, "It's Like That." Nor is it the fact that she followed it up with an even hotter single, We Belong Together. My simple reason isÖMariah and I share the same nickname. Yes, I too am a Mimi (only family calls me that). Other than that, I wasn't really looking forward to reviewing the CD.
THE EMANCIPATION OF...
My lack of interest is partly due to the slump that Ms. Carey has been in for the past few years. First, she starred in an exceptionally bad movie in 2001. Remember Glitter? Of course not. Oh, and we can't forget her very public meltdown on two mediums: television and on the World Wide Web (psst: she peeled off her clothes on MTV and she wrote a very cryptic message on her website for her fans). Those two faux pas made her career come to a screeching halt. She was no longer a part of the R&B elite; she became known as the crazy chick that was running around half-naked [don't forget the very public allegation that she stalked EminemÖno comment - Chris]. But I chose to overlook her past foibles and give her a chance by listening to her latest CD, The Emancipation of Mimi.
Guess what? I really like this album! Believe me, I'm not just saying that. I was shocked because I imagined that I would have to endure an hour of corny ballads, but Mariah mixes it up with upbeat R&B tracks, slow jams and dance-worthy tracks. Unlike the contemporary crop of R&B vocalists (with the exception of Alicia Keys), Mariah proves that she has a strong enough voice to stay in the limelight for a very long time.
Her first single, It's Like That, was a good way to get back into the scene. It is a fun, happy track that shows the audience that Mariah can get her party on just like anyone. It is an R&B song, but it also has a choppy hip-hop beat that gives it that playful edge. It's that jerky beat that makes the song for me. That, and my favourite line: "Them chickens is ash and I'm lotion." The absurdity of that line makes me laugh every time.
We Belong Together was the second cut from the album, and yes, I love it as well. It's not a syrupy sweet song that'll make you want you to gouge your eyes out. It's a very romantic and loving song that speaks about a girl who believes that she has found her soul mate. Even as jaded as I am, this song tugs at my heartstrings. I can see this played at proms and weddings for years to come.
Even though I do enjoy this version, the remix featuring Jadakiss is insane (the remix is not on this album). It's a sped-up version of the original with a hip-hop twist. It definitely gets the attention of both R&B fans and hip hop heads.
My favourite track on the album is the up-tempo song, Shake It Off. I really, really, really want Mariah to release this song as her next single. The song is about a girl who finally decides to leave her triflin' boyfriend after a series of heartaches. It reminds me of Ashanti's big hit, "Foolish," (the content, not the beat), but Mariah is smart enough to know that you can only run back to a bad relationship so many times before you really need to call it quits.
For the true blue Mariah fans who desperately want to hear her do her thing on the slower songs, then Mine Again, Joy Ride, Fly Like A Bird and I Wish You Knew are for you. Actually, the first three songs that I mentioned are okay, but I find I Wish You Knew to be very sappy. It includes that Mariah trademark five-octave range (mid-song), but even that cannot keep my attention.
It wouldn't be a Mariah record if it didn't have rappers on it to show how really down she is. Nelly, Twista and Snoop all make appearances on her CD. All of these songs are destined for the clubs (they are very catchy and danceable), but the best one (and another one of my fave tracks), is Say Somethin' featuring Snoop.
Mariah's voice is breathy and light, which gives the song a very ethereal feel. It sounds similar to "Frontin'," which should be no surprise, as The Neptunes produced both songs. Snoop adds his pimpness to the song, and it works.
Overall, I enjoyed this CD. It was not what I expected, and for that, I was pleasantly surprised. Mariah broke away from her safety net of producing the power ballad, and took a chance at being seen as relevant as her younger R&B counterparts. ¤ Michelle
THE EMANCIPATION OF MIMI: (out of 5)